Skyler Woodward has knocked World Nineball Tour No.1 Francisco Sanchez Ruiz out of the 2023 UK Open Pool Championship at the Copper Box Arena in London to reach the semi-finals live on Sky Sports in the UK, DAZN in the USA and Italy, Viaplay in Scandinavia, Baltics, Netherlands, and Poland, Sport1 in Germany and broadcasters worldwide including Matchroom.Live.
Woodward looked imperious against the World Champion and much like the player fans across the world have come to love. The two-time Mosconi Cup MVP grabbed the game by the horns despite losing the opening rack, Woodward proceeded to take the following five and be halfway towards victory putting the onus truly on Sanchez Ruiz to respond. It seemed due time that a comeback would be made by Sanchez Ruiz but Woodward kept on imposing himself in the contest. At 5-2 down, Sanchez Ruiz left the one ball hanging from a jump and Woodward came in only for the former to steal the rack and send a sign this was not done yet.
Errors are few and far between in Sanchez Ruiz’s game but Woodward was forcing him in corners that were tough to get out of and as the sole American left in the field, he wanted to ensure that would remain the case going into the final day. Sanchez Ruiz’s game wasn’t lacking, Woodward was just too good. Woodward went on from there to win the next five racks and lodge a huge win on his CV and reach the UK Open semi-finals where he will face Eklent Kaçi next.
Kaçi had a hallmark win against Woodward’s compatriot Shane Van Boening earlier in the day and he continued on his ascendancy with his game in full shape with an equally impressive victory over Ko Ping Chung 10-8.
The Albanian Eagle was looking for redemption after losing out in the World Pool Masters final just three weeks ago and he was on course for it with Ping Chung left in his chair early doors. Kaçi looked at home on the TV table going into a 4-2, 5-2, 6-2, 7-2 lead to be looking well on course for a maiden semi-final at the UK Open. Ping Chung couldn’t be ruled out though and there was critical moments that came that changed the roadmap of the match. Back-to-back break and runs from Ping Chung in the 11th and 12th put Kaçi on high alert with the deficit cut to two at 7-5. An error from Ping Chung in the 13th put Kaçi two away but it wasn’t going to be plain sailing just yet. Ping Chung was finding his best game once again as he levelled up all square.
In the closing moments, Ping Chung broke well at 8-8 but lost position off the one and jumping to make the two left Kaçi with an open run out to reach the hill first, somewhat an hour later than what he would’ve expected. From there, Kaçi looked to have it locked up but a dramatic missed 9-ball brought Ping Chung with a lifeline to go hill hill. It was a tricky effort for Ping Chung that was missed leaving Kaçi with a simple 9 to secure victory.
Live on the Matchroom Pool YouTube channel, Ko Pin Yi’s mission to go back-to-back like defending champion Joshua Filler 12 months ago rolls on after fighting off a late comeback from Dimitris Loukatos was slayed with a clutch break and run in the final two racks from 8-8 to secure his win. Pin Yi was dominant early on winning the opening three racks but was halted with an error in the fourth to allow Loukatos in to steal his first rack. It was Pin Yi who was looking under the most pressure despire the 7-5 scoreline as Loukatos turned the screw to go 8-7 up and be closet to reaching the hill first. Before too long, Loukatos was feeling the heat and at 9-8 down, a bank went wrong to bring Pin Yi in to sweep up for victory.
The action continued on Table 1 with Filler looking to keep hold of his title after beating Riku Romppanen 10-6. Filler came up against Mieszko Fortunski next who was put through the ringer just a few hours prior against Shane Wolford in a hill hill finish. This time, Filler found his groove more convincingly giving Fortunski little room for error as the racks kept running in leaving Fortunski frozen. It was the best stuff from Filler all week and it sees the Killer set up a tantalising clash with Pin Yi tomorrow at midday UK time.
Match Schedule – from 12pm tomorrow UK
SF 1 – Joshua Filler (GER) vs Ko Pin Yi (TPE)
SF 2 – Eklent Kaci (ALB) vs Skyler Woodward (USA)
Match odds are available daily through online gaming websites with outright odds for the 2023 UK Open Pool Championship also available. At the start of today, Woodward was priced at 14/1 to win the tournament whilst Kaçi was at 11/1. Filler meanwhile was 10/3 and Ko Pin Yi at 9/2.
Live rack-by-rack scoring is available throughout the event at www.matchroompool.com thanks to our partner PRP.
The final two days are live on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland with fans in the USA, Italy and Brazil able to watch on DAZN whilst those in Scandinavia, Baltics, Netherlands and Poland able to sweat the action on Viaplay. Those in Germany, Austria and Switzerland can see the final two days on Sport1 whilst fans in the Philippines able to watch in TAP Go.
Tickets are available from £20 a for the final to enjoy the action inside one of London’s most historic sporting venues. Tickets are limited. Buy tickets here.
Session Times – UK time
Sunday, 4 June – 12 pm – 4:30 pm / 6 pm – 9:30 pm